In 1991 two of Acid Jazz’s latest signings made their live debuts at the label’s Christmas Party, held at the Town and Country Club 2 in Highbury. The show was stolen by Jay Kay in his guise as Jamiroquai. Within 18 months he was top of the UK’s album charts and on the way to an incredible level of pop fame. The other act, Mother Earth, had a rockier journey, but with the completion of their first album they were feeling their way as a live outfit. By the time the LP was issued, early the following summer, they were well on their way to being one of the best live acts I have seen. However the first album was 100% removed from this. It was a studio-based concoction, where the band was slowly pieced together as producer Eddie Piller needed new impetus into the project that began as an indulgence for himself and his lodger Steven Bunn. In fact Mother Earth’s lead singer doesn’t sing on this album, joining too late to add anything but guitar overdubs.
As the band was being put together, the album rapidly became an Acid Jazz All Stars sort of record, with appearances by James Taylor, Paul Daley of Leftfield, Wildski from Beats International and the Brand New Heavies’ Simon Bartholomew. However a nucleus of slowly coalesced around bassist Neil Corcoran, drummer Chris White and singers Shauna, Dorret and Maria. Matt Deighton joined at the end of the sessions and by the time of the Christmas party, Bryn Barklam was on Hammond.
The album that grew out of this was a rock-inflected, funky-filled brew that referenced blaxploitation and other funky soundtracks of the early-to-mid 70s. The whole sound was built upon a session compiling breaks and beats that Piller and Bunn had been messing around with. Nevertheless the finished recording was so much more, and when it appeared it garnered great reviews, including an 8 out of 10 in the NME and journalist Ian McCann wrote a piece for the paper as if the album was the soundtrack for an imaginary film.
Our Expanded Version of “Stoned Woman” includes a previously unreleased version of George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord from the album sessions and all three tracks from the band’s debut single, a cover of Santana’s Hope You’re Feeling Better, an unreleased instrumental called Grandma’s Hooch and a blistering band take of the track Stoned Woman recorded at Acid Jazz Studios during the “People Tree” sessions. This really gives some idea of how amazing the track became when performed live.
By Dean Rudland